Cultural differences in goal-setting and GBO: please share your experiences

Goal-oriented practice and the use of the goal-based outcomes (GBO) tool has spread to a range of settings in physical and mental health in recent years.  It is used across Europe and in North America, Japan and Australasia and is being translated into different languages.  This spread means that the practice and the tools are increasingly being used across different cultures.  

We would like to hear from you about your personal and clinical experiences of using the GBO or goal-oriented practice with people across different cultures.

We are interested in things like:

  • What have you experienced in terms of different cultural attitudes to goal setting?
  • What ideas or techniques have you found helpful in explaining goals and the GBO?
  • What differences have you noticed in the sorts of goals that are set across different cultures?
  • What differences are there in peoples understanding of the concept of goals, goal-setting and rating goal progress?
  • What experiences have you had using the GBO with translators?

Please share your experiences via the ‘leave a reply’ link below or via the ‘contact’ page

Goal-Oriented Practice

Duncan Law

January 2019

Goal-oriented practice argues that the starting point of any intervention and the primary focus of therapy should be: “What do you want to change?”.  ‘What do you want to change?’, invites the client to share their hopes and wishes for the outcome of a therapeutic encounter: what they want to be different as a result of the effort and what resource they will need to invest in the therapy  – in short it asks for an expression of the client’s ‘goals’.  

Goal-orientated practice necessarily includes the need to understand the ‘problem’ through diagnosis or formulation, but it emphasises the primary purpose of therapy from being one of ‘understanding’ to being one of ‘change’.  This is not to play down the power of understanding as an intervention in creating shift, but in goal–orientated practice the emphasis is on the client’s wish for change and the therapy and therapist is guided by, and focused on, the change goal: “what I want to be different”.

In this sense goal-orientated practice is a therapeutic stance rather then a therapeutic model. Once a therapy goal has been collaboratively agreed it is possible to use any suitable intervention to reach it. Goal -orientated practice does not dictate any particular therapeutic model in which to reach the goal, but rather provides a focus, or a direction of travel, that the therapist and client have agreedto work on together to reach.  It works on the pluralistic principle that there are many potential vehicles that can take you towards the same destination. 

Goal-orientated practice is simply any therapeutic encounter that works towards helping a person move towards what they want to get out of the endeavour of a therapeutic intervention. A ‘goal’ is simply a shorthand for “what I want to be different if therapy is successful”.  Whatever phrase we choose to name ‘goals’, it is the concept behind the phrase: ‘goal -orientated practice’, that is of importance here. 

It might be argued that this is no different in purpose from pretty much all therapy.  The difference with goal -orientated practice is the degree to which the goals are made explicit, collaboratively agreed, perceived as jointly owned, and form a focus for change. In goal–orientated practice the goals of the client and the goals of the therapist are made explicit, and the therapy takes place where these goals overlap, are co-constricted and collaboratively agreed.

This blog is adapted from Law, D. (2018) ‘goal-oriented practice’ in Cooper and Law (eds) Working with goals in psychotherapy and counselling’OUP 

Guidance notes for using the goal-based outcome (GBO) tool

The goal-based outcomes (GBO) tool is a simple and effective method to measure progress and outcomes of an intervention.  It grew out of work with children, young people and their families in mental health and emotional well-being settings but can be used in any setting, that is change-focused and goal-oriented – including adult and physical health contexts. The GBO has been used extensively both in the UK and internationally.

The goal-based outcomes (GBO) tool is a tool to help facilitate collaborative goal-oriented conversations & to help track progress towards goalsand facilitate further collaborative goal-oriented conversations.

The tool tracks what is arguably the most important thing to measure in any intervention: “Is this helping you make progress towards the things that you really want help with?” 

This full guidance can be downloaded here

Hard copies if the guidance will be available from later this month please follow http://www.goals-in-therapy.com to keep up to date with publication details.

Goal-based outcomes (GBOs): Version 2.0 available to download here

The goals-based outcomes (GBOs) tools have been updated.  The forms have the same content to previous versions but have been made clearer and easier to use.

GBOs

They are relaunched under a Creative Commons License BY-NC-SA 4.0 making them free to share and use by anyone, for none commercial purposes, with appropriate attribution to Dr Duncan Law.  All three charts are available to download free of charge by clicking this link GBO version 2 March 2018 FINAL

Guidance on using the tools is available to download here

If you want to share your experiences of using GBOs please contact us via the contact page and we will consider publishing it as a blog

This page can be used to record therapy goals:

GBO pg2

This page can be used to track progress in sessions:

GBO pg3

This page can be used to track progress across sessions:

GBO pg1